Monday, October 22, 2012

Suburbs of Our Discontent

That Hamlet. He's got an eloquent way of saying everything, right? This weekend, as I attacked the front and back yards with shears and shovels of all varieties, as I marveled at the previous homeowner's ability to ignore the outside of this house for decades, I thought of Hamlet's soliloquy below. In context, this is Hamlet ranting about his slut-of-a-mom. His "unweeded garden" metaphor isn't a benevolent, nurturing Mother Nature, but instead a life force that suffocates and corrupts with all her bodily skank. 

No one loves a metaphor more than me, but sometimes there's pleasure in the literalness of Shakespeare's language as well. Like, when you're covered in dirt, weird mushrooms and endless knots of attacking rhododendrons, cursing the previous homeowners for not giving a crap. 

"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, (135)
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely
. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two: 
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him, 
As if increase of appetite had grown"

(Hamlet, 1.2.131-61)

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